If you thought only the poor resided in India, think again.
India now is home to 83,000 millionaires (that is, people with more than $1 million in net assets) and the country saw the world's second fastest growth, at 19.3 per cent, in the number of high net-worth individuals in 2005.
South Korea, Russia and South Africa are the other nations that witnessed big growth in HNWI populations.
The world too is getting richer by the day. There are now 8.7 million millionaires on the planet, 6.5 per cent more than there were last year.
These were the observations of the 10th World Wealth Report released by investment group Merrill Lynch and consultancy Capgemini on Tuesday.
The assets of these super rich put together increased 8.5 by per cent to $33.3 trillion, the report added.
South Africa, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and Brazil too posted double-digit increases in the number of HNWIs.
The report said that United States is the richest nation with 2.67 million millionaires. The other countries with the highest number of HNWIs are: Germany (767,000), the United Kingdom (448,000), China (320,000), Canada (232,000), Australia (146,000), Brazil (109,000), and Russia (103,000).
The report also said that India has the potential to become the fourth largest economy by 2025 and the third largest by 2050, behind only the US and China.
The report aims to better understand the needs of high net worth individuals across the world and observes that nations like India, China, Brazil and Russia China remained strong economic players in the competitive global arena, with three of the four represented in the top 10 fastest-growing HNWI populations in 2005.
According to the report, China, whose economy continued to grow at breakneck speed in 2005, enjoyed real GDP gains of 9.9%. India was not far behind, with 8 real GDP growth.
South Korea, India, Russia and South Africa witnessed the highest growth in HNWI populations. HNWI numbers grew by 6.8% in China in 2005, while India posted a surging 19.3% run-up. India's growth is hardly surprising given the current analyst projections.
Analysing the global trends, the report makes the following observations:
- 8.7 million people globally hold more than $1million in financial assets -- an increase of 6.5% over 2004
- South Korea, India, Russia and South Africa witnessed the highest growth in HNWI populations
- HNWI wealth totals $33.3 trillion, representing an 8.5% gain since 2004
- Wealth generation was driven by real GDP gains and continued market capitalisation growth
- Emerging markets registered strong advances in market capitalisation, aiding wealth creation in regions such as Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia-Pacific
- HNWI financial wealth is expected to reach $44.6 trillion by 2010, growing at an annual rate of 6.0%
(Economic data derived from The Economist Intelligence Unit, selected countries, February 2006)
The report also states that the number of millionaires may fall in 2006 as the stock markets are on decline in both the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
Accounting for nearly two-third of the world's oil reserves, West Asia and Africa continued to benefit from the global dependence on fossil fuels. The region continued to be home to enormous growth of wealth of HNWIs with financial wealth growing at a rate of 19.7 per cent in 2005, said the report.
In Saudi Arabia, the increase in oil production contributed to GDP growth of 6.5 per cent last year and it will stay strong in 2006 and 2007 for the same reason, the report said. The number of HNWIs in Saudi Arabia reached to 80,100 in 2005 versus 70,600 in 2004, a 13.5 per cent increase.
The number of millionaires in the United Arab Emirates has increased to 59,000 in 2005, owing to the boom in the stock markets and surge in oil income, it said.
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